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Credit card debt and divorce

Divorcing couples in Massachusetts often have shared credit card debt that was acquired during their marriage. Just like how assets must be divided in a divorce, liabilities like credit card debt have to be divided as well. Before agreeing to let an ex-spouse take responsibility for paying off credit cards, an individual might want to learn about how the credit card debt will be viewed in the eyes of the creditor.

Although a divorce agreement might state that one spouse will take care of credit card payments, the other spouse might still be legally responsible for the debt. If the spouse who agreed to pay off the credit card fails to make payments, the creditor may attempt to collect the unpaid balance from the other spouse. As long as both spouses' names are connected to the line of credit, the creditor has no legal obligation to respect the divorce agreement.

Divorce issues involving credit card debt do not affect spouses with individual credit card accounts. Even if a credit card was issued to a spouse during their marriage, the creditor will only be allowed to pursue repayment from the account holder. If a person was listed as an authorized user on their ex-spouse's individual credit card account, they will not be legally responsible for the debt that was acquired.

A spouse who is going through a difficult divorce in which a great deal of credit card debt is involved might want to speak with an attorney. Depending on the situation, an attorney may help a spouse to come up with a solution for debt division that will leave their credit score intact. In some cases, an attorney may be able to convince creditors to agree to change joint accounts to individual accounts.

Source: FindLaw, "Credit and Divorce," Accessed Feb. 6, 2015

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